Versatile Van Morrison
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- 1Broken Record03:15
- 2A Foggy Day03:33
- 3Let’s Get Lost03:38
- 4Bye Bye Blackbird03:45
- 5Skye Boat Song04:01
- 6Take It Easy Baby04:07
- 7Makin’ Whoopee04:52
- 8I Get A Kick Out Of You04:10
- 9I Forgot That Love Existed03:37
- 10Unchained Melody04:33
- 11Start All Over Again04:40
- 12Only A Dream05:29
- 14The Party's Over03:10
- 15I Left My Heart In San Francisco06:01
- 16They Can't Take That Away From Me03:31
Info for Versatile
Following the massive success of his 37th studio album 'Roll With the Punches' (which charted at No 4 in the UK this September), Van Morrison prepares the release of his 38th, 'Versatile!'
'Versatile' is positive proof that Van Morrison is built differently to other artists. One of very few British recording artists to warrant the description 'living legend', Van is currently working at a rate to put musicians a third of his age to shame; an ethic that harks back to his early days as a recording artist who'd easily release multiple brilliant long players within the space of a year.
While 'Roll With The Punches' saw Van revisit many of the definitive rhythm and blues records that have stayed with him all his life, Van's latest album sees him delve further back into recorded music's archives to interpret some of the 20th century's greatest vocal jazz standards.
Across 'Versatile's sixteen tracks, Van Morrison interprets some of the very building blocks of modern music in his own utterly unique style. As well as songs originally made famous by the likes of Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra, the Righteous Brothers, Tony Bennett and Nat King Cole, Versatile features six stunning new Van compositions, including Broken Record – a timeless piece of late-night swing.
Van says of 'Versatile:' "Recording songs like these - especially the standards - gave me the chance to stretch out vocally and get back to the music that originally inspired me to sing - jazz!"
A joy from start to finish, Versatile is a completely different record to Roll With the Punches yet it's incontrovertibly Van and proof, if ever it were needed, that at 72 years of age, he's not going to slow down any time soon.
Produced by Van Morrison
One of music’s true originals Van Morrison’s unique and inspirational musical legacy is rooted in postwar Belfast.
Born in 1945 Van heard his Shipyard worker father’s collection of blues, country and gospel early in life.
Feeding off musical greats such as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Muddy Waters, Mahalia Jackson and Leadbelly he was a travelling musician at 13 and singing, playing guitar and sax, in several bands, before forming Them in 1964.
Making their name at Belfast’s Maritime Club Them soon established Van as a major force in the British R&B scene. Morrison’s matchless vocal and songwriting talents produced instant classics such as the much covered ‘Gloria’ and ‘Here Comes The Night’.
Those talents found full astonishing range in Van’s solo career.
After working with Them’s New York producer Bert Berns on beautiful Top 40 pop hit ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ (1967), Morrison moved to another realm.
Recorded over 3 days with legendary jazz musicians Astral Weeks (1968) is a still singular album combining street poetry, jazz improvisation, Celtic invocation and Afro Celtic Blues wailing.
Morrison would weave these and myriad other influences into the albums that followed in quick succession.
Reflecting on new life in America on the joyous Sinatra soul of Moondance (1970) and the country inflected Tupelo Honey (1971) he summoned old spiritual and ancestral life in the epic St Dominic’s Preview (1972) closer track Listen To The Lion.
Double live album Too Late To Stop Now (1973) highlighted Morrison’s superlative performing and bandleader skills. Mapping out a richly varied musical course throughout the 70s he shone among an all-star cast including Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters on The Band’s Last Waltz.
Indeed, borne of his Irish Showband instincts, the magic of the live performance has been a consistent feature of Morrison’s career.
Settling back into life in the UK in 1980 he released Common One an album centring on Summertime In England an extraordinary invocation of literary, sensual and spiritual pleasure the song would often become a thrilling improvised centrepiece to his live shows.
Steering his own course throughout the 80s on albums such as No Guru, No Method, No Teacher he claimed Celtic roots with The Chieftains on Irish Heartbeat. Teaming with Georgie Fame brought new impetus to his live show while Avalon Sunset saw him back in the album and single charts by the decades end.
Van Morrison continued to advance on his status as a game- changing artist through the 90s and into the 21st century.
Awards and accolades - a Brit, an OBE, an Ivor Novello, 6 Grammys, honourary doctorates from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, entry into The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and the French Ordres Des Artes Et Des Lettres - attested to the international reach of Van’s musical art.
Yet there was never any suggestion that Morrison, one of the most prolific recording artists and hardest working live performers of his era, would ever rest on his laurels.
Collaborations with, among others, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, Lonnie Donegan, Mose Allison and Tom Jones confirmed the breadth of his musical reach.
Morrison’s visionary songwriting and mastery of many genres continued to shine on albums celebrating and re-exploring his blues, jazz, skiffle and country roots.
The influence of the musical journey that began back in Post War Belfast stretches across the generations, and Morrison’s questing hunger insures that the journey itself continues.
Constantly reshaping his musical history in live performance, Morrison reclaimed Astral Weeks on 2009’s album Live At The Hollywood Bowl.
The subtitle of Van Morrison's latest album, Born to Sing: No Plan B, indicates the power that music still holds for this living legend. "No Plan B means this is not a rehearsal," says Morrison. "That’s the main thing—it’s not a hobby, it’s real, happening now, in real time."
With one of the most revered catalogues in music history and his unparalleled talents as composer, singer and performer Morrison’s past achievements loom large. But, as throughout his extraordinary career, how that past informs his future achievements and still stirs excitement and keen anticipation.
This album contains no booklet.